Ano Natsu de Matteru 06 – The Joy’s of Okinawa, and the problems it creates
February 15, 2012 Leave a comment
This series has, so far, been an excellent look at the tangled web of relationships within this tight group of friends, and how they are altered and even complicated by the arrival of Ichika. This episode was no exception, and started off with Tetsurou bluntly telling Kaito that Kanna loves him; he doesn’t, however, appear to be doing this out of complete spite, perhaps being frustrated by the current lack of progress that Kanna is making. This episode does take a little break from the normal setting and moves to Okinawa, which, if anything, makes things even more complicated. So far the script of Kuroda, Yousuke has been excellent, proving us with witty dialogue, but also very heartfelt moments and brilliant pieces of insight into the characters feelings, couple this with the outstanding directing of Nagai Tatsuyuki and we have a brilliant piece of work that fully explores peoples emotions and relationships.
As I mentioned the setting this time around moved to Okinawa, courtesy of tickets that Tetsurou’s sister magically produce from thin-air. Seeing Ichika’s sheer joy at being able to visit Okinawa – tropical islands must not exist on her planet – was brilliant to watch, those sparkling eyes, they should be illegal. Okinawa obviously means one thing in anime, girls or women in bikinis, and Ano Natsu de Matteru did not disappoint in this respect. It was great seeing Kaito and Tetsurou admiring their surroundings, along with Kanna making a spectacular effort to show some sex appeal for Kaito, unfortunately, the power of Ichika and Manami’s bikinis combined was too much for her. Mio was a little disappointing, for someone who appears to go commando in her own house she seems to be a little embarrassed about her own body and sex appeal.
Considering that he had been told Kanna is in love with him, Kaito was surprisingly calm, and apart from a few nervous stutters it seems that he has come to terms with that fact, and in a sense moved on. I find this maturity really good, and show that while Kaito is in love with Ichika, he is capable of accepting that someone else may have feelings for him. It doesn’t make the situation any easier, and the conclusion may, and probably will be quite a messy one emotionally. The early part of the episode showed us that everyone appears to have accepted their current situation, at least enough to be able to interact with the friends in a meaningful way. It didn’t last long though, and with the introduction of Kaori Kinoshita – a middle school friend of Kaito’s – and Chiharu Arisawa – an incredibly aggressive girl who makes a beeline for Tetsurou – things get a lot more complicated. Having Kaori claim that she and Kaito are engaged was the perfect catalyst from some spectacular angry glares coming from Ichika and Kanna. The introduction of these two characters who both appear to be deadly serious in their own ways demonstrates firstly how fragile many of these relationships are, but also adds that little spark to push people into action.
Ichika, for example, is clearly in love with Kaito, and Tetsurou’s statement is clearly eating away at her in some small way. The trip to Okinawa initially adds a neat little break to this, but her emotions are quickly thrown back into turmoil with the introduction of Kaori. As usual it takes a little prod from Lemon to push people into action, with her mentioning to Ichika that nothing happens if you stand still and wait. Ichika still doesn’t quite seem to understand her own feelings, but gets annoyed at Kaito for having other girls around him, and even gets frustrated at herself for her inability to do anything. Seeing her run after Kaito when he disappears with Kaori, only to end up questioning why she is doing this in the first place exemplifies the convoluted nature of Ichika and how it affects her relationships.
This episode also focused a little more on Mio than previously, with her taking a larger role than Kanna this week. Seeing her get her own back on Tetsurou by building an incredibly detailed reproduction of the Mont Saint Micheal was brilliant to watch, further hilarity ensues when she suggests that the best part is when the tide comes in. Mio appears to have a bit of an inferiority complex, noting that Kanna is very cute, but suggesting that she is not good enough. However, she is the first to get aggravated by the arrival of Chiharu; seeing her aggressive defense of Tetsurou was wonderful to watch, and demonstrated that her habit of going commando at home and in bed appears to go further than we could have possibly imagined. For the first time in this series Tetsuoru may have noticed that Mio is a pretty beautiful girl, something that is worth a little embarrassment and hurried covering up.
This series has always been about he intertwining relationships amongst its characters, and also how each of them is perceptive of a different set of feelings and relationships. For example, Tetsurou is acutely aware of Kanna’s feelings for Kaito, but ignorant of Mio’s own feelings for him. Mio said something quite fascinating this episode, suggesting to Kanna that Tetsuro is actually a very delicate person, and that Kanna cant see that because she has spent too much time with him. It is a clear example of how feelings can be easily hidden from those who are close to you, or perhaps simply not noticed. The romantic frustration and interactions between the characters is quite palpable towards the end of the episode, and with the introduction of Kaori, and her subsequent confession of her long-held feelings produces an intensely charged ending.
What has impressed me so far is Ano Natsu’s ability to maintain a good level of dramatic and romantic tension without melodrama. The relationships in this series are incredibly complex and move in multiple directions, but it also manages to keep the flow and maintain a good balance between drama and comedy. As a good example, this episode started off quite dramatic, with a demonstration of the turmoil within Ichika’s emotions, but then it changed its pace and we had quite a light-hearted scene on the beach. Even with the introduction of Kaori and Chiharu, much of the drama was counteracted with some spectacular comedic moments, especially when Kaito is essentially put under the inquisition with both Kanna and Ichika thoroughly questioning him. One thing that did strike me as well this episode was Tetsurou’s inability to deal with Chiharu – this seemed a little strange when Tetsurou is apparently quite the ladies man, having seduced a teacher at school into giving him Ichika’s information. Chiharu for her part is one of the most aggressive, and funniest girls I have seen in an anime series in a quite a while.
This Okinawa arc looks set to continue into next week – and with the title of next week’s episode being ‘Your Feelings’ – I can only hope that a few things are resolved, especially between Ichika and Kaito. Since we are now half way through the series, I think it is only a matter of time before Ichika’s secret is exposed to Kaito and we are given an idea as to when she has to leave the earth. Seeing as Rinon appears to have activated something on Ichika’s ship – courtesy of Chiharu sitting on her – this may mean that some sort of signal has been sent, thus setting off a chain of events, which may force Ichika to leave. This is all speculation, but given who is writing the script, I feel it is at least has a strong possibility of happening.